I walked down the steps to my living room one bright, sunny morning a couple of weeks ago. At least it was bright and sunny outside. My living room was dark and cave-like. The blinds were closed; the curtains drawn. My house has lots of large windows that allow in the sun and keeps me warm in winter. In summer, I can sit on my sofa and have a 180 view of green.  Yet the windows which give me such a beautiful view also deliver a great deal of sun and heat. My budget simply doesn’t allow for non-stop air conditioning and I must do what I can to keep the house cool without it.

I felt sad and depressed all day.  I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so blue.  I had been looking forward to a day of writing and spending time with my dog, Gizzy, so my mood made no sense.

By chance, I found an article on-line a few days later about a rare condition, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the summer. It was one of those “ah-ha” moments for me. The article confirmed how I was feeling. SAD is typically an issue in wintertime when people get depressed from lack of sunlight.  Was I sunlight deprived because I hated going out in the heat and humidity, and kept my house dark to save money on air conditioning? Yes!

I am one of those unusual people (so I thought) who does not like summer. I do love the long days, the last vestiges of dusk still lingering at 9:15. But being out in temperatures above 80 degrees gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.  Plus, my poor old Gizzy can’t handle the heat either, panting and rasping when we walk even in the cooler morning hours. I daydream endlessly of moving to the mountains of Vermont where the days are cooler and crisp, and the snow lingers through the spring.

So I decided to get more sunlight, regardless of the heat. And I opened up my blinds and curtains – to hell with the electric bill!  I feel better. What made me feel even better still, I found that I’m not alone by a long shot.  I’ve talked to people and surprisingly, quite a few admitted that they hate the heat and feel depressed in the summer.  I found several Summer SAD groups on Facebook and a few chat groups. One even has a “countdown to the darkest day of the year” on the site!

Summer SAD is complicated. Some people are affected because they get too much sunlight and instead of getting depressed, they are more manic. That’s not me. I love being outside in the sun and when I can’t get out due to the heat, that’s what brings me down.

How about you? Are your moods affected by the hot weather in any way?

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